Measures for seasonal amphibian migration

Measures for seasonal amphibian migration
Every year millions of amphibians get run over by cars. © Michael Wittstock/pixelio.de

Involved sectors

Agriculture, Water management, Tourism and leisure, Nature protection, Transport, Local population/citizens, Municipalities

Affected habitats

Areas for settlements and transport

Description

Most amphibians in Central Europe undertake various migrations during their lives, including the seasonal spring migrations to their spawning grounds. They invariably encounter numerous barriers which they must overcome, especially the dense transport network where millions of amphibians are killed by vehicles every year. There are many measures which could be taken to protect amphibians during migration and to help reduce the barrier effects; these include warning signs for drivers; mobile seasonal fences for amphibians; substitute spawning grounds; temporary road closures; and permanent protection systems (amphibian tunnels), etc.

Impact

Impact in particular on Amphibians
Ecological impact  
Reduction of fragmentation or creation of new valuable habitats The purpose of the measures is to reduce the fragmentation effects for amphibians during migration and facilitate habitat access.
Improvement or preservation of habitats Amphibians prefer suitable habitats for their migrations. Habitat improvement measures should therefore be carried out in parallel.
Element of ecological network Most of the actions carried out are "short-term" elements of a biotope network, with human intervention substituting for a corridor. In most cases, however, the measures are simply a response to an acute danger, not a permanent solution.
Time of realisation for measure Immediate: The actions last for the duration of the spring migrations. They must have immediate impact and mitigate the acute danger.
Impact scope Very localised (plot): Amphibians do not have very large ranges. The measures are generally carried out at local/municipal level.

Implementation

Implementation period Weeks: Speed limits, mobile fences, warning signs etc. are used for several weeks during the peak of the migration (usually 6 weeks).
Frequency Non-recurring, Recurring: Permanently installed crossings for amphibians plus mobile facilities to be set up and managed during migrations of amphibians.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Very low (less than 1'000 EUR): Vary widely depending on the measure. Work is often carried out by volunteers.
Socio-economic impacts No direct impact: Possible prevention of traffic accidents. Often, sensitisation of the general public.
Sources of financing Private sponsor, Other private sources, Public: local, Public: regional
Legal situation These are voluntary actions which must, however, respect general traffic safety provisions.

Further information

Evaluation The measures described are generally not a permanent solution for improving connectivity. More permanent solutions are removal of trunk status from roads, decommissioning of roads, possible night-time road closures in spring and autumn or year round, or permanent protection systems such as underpasses for small animals.
Information Switzerland: e.g. Swiss Centre for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (KARCH)
Contact Other: Various nature conservation organisations.

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